While reading this Bible study lesson, I was ministered to the most by this quote from John MacArthur’s Twelve Extraordinary Women, making a point about Rahab’s ability to quickly hide the spies. He says,
"The speed and ingenuity of her scheme to hide them suggests that she was experienced in this kind of thing. Apparently the stalks of flax, ‘which she had laid in order on the roof’, were there for precisely that purpose, in case a jealous wife came looking for a client. Rahab had a long rope handy too. No doubt she had arranged similar escapes, but for different reasons, in the past. The hiding place certainly served a high and holy purpose this time."
I have never thought about why Rahab was so prepared to hide the spies, and expanding that particular story into the larger concept about how even the tools of our sin can be redeemed for the Lord’s use.
Here are this week’s questions:
1. When is the last time you encountered a Fist Shaker? This may be a stranger to you or as close as a loved one in your own home. Does anything in our description help you to understand their animosity towards God? Are you able to have more compassion towards them?
2. Does anything about Rahab’s redemption strike a nerve? This may be a question you would like to ponder privately. Sexual sin and/or victimization can be an area where Satan has an enormous stronghold because it can hold so many painful and shameful memories. If Rahab teaches us anything, please know God can redeem any life and any situation, no matter how heinous it seems, and plant you unashamedly ‘in the midst of Israel’. Rahab deserved death according to Mosaic Law, however she was shown nothing but lovingkindness by the God and nation of Israel.
3. Is there an area of your life in which you feel you have come full circle? Where you’ve come to a place where everything and nothing are the same? (I’m thinking Lord of the Rings when Frodo goes back to the Shire after his long adventure. You have no clue what I just said if you are not an LOTR nerd so just ignore this if it doesn’t make sense! 🙂
4. When you were born again, did you gain a new appreciation for your surroundings as Rahab did when she received the Promise along with the Promised Land? Has some old place, object, or relationship been redeemed by now serving a ‘high and holy purpose’?
5. Believers can still be Fist Shakers. Do you have circumstances in your life in which you find yourself shaking your fist at God? Something He has asked you to endure, asked you to do, seemingly taken away from you? Can you see how shaking your fist is keeping you from your Promise? (I’m not talking eternal security here – Only abundant living.)
When thinking about fist shakers, I immediately thought about my neighbor, and then my family. We were brought up to be religious, and I think I can safely say that we were in church long before church got into us. My mother and father have both gone on to Glory, but man, do I see now the results of not wholly embracing God’s more perfect way—so much unnecessary strife and dysfunction. It’s not all them; I’m still working on some things myself. There are times when I feel as if I’ve traveled the same path of action and repentance so many times that perhaps I have a thorn in my side as Paul did. We are never told what the thorn is—a temptation, a stronghold? Yet when he prayed about removing it from his life, the Lord simply replied that His grace is sufficient. If my “thorn” was taken away from me, would I come into a new level of compassion for others based upon a heightened awareness of mercy and grace, or would I just become arrogant?
I thought and prayed about this one at length because I have worked hard to bury that old person and step into the new creature He created. If I had to name any part of my old nature that is now redeemed, it would have to be my tongue. BC (before Christ), I took great pride in my ability to put people in their places, and I wasn’t one to cross. I spent my latter teen and early adult years cutting down anyone who made me feel insecure, though I didn’t recognize in those days that insecurity was what was really at the root of my venom. I would speak endlessly, running down people who made me jealous. Always something negative! It’s shameful to think of how my mouth ran—what was that about? Thank God for Jesus. It’s been a process, but the Holy Spirit gently speaks when I begin to draw back into my old ways. I can back up and focus on why I said what I said, and then deal with what I’m feeling though prayer. That’s a much happier and emotionally healthier place to be.
In the past few weeks, several people who’ve wronged me in some way have come into some bad situations. For a quick moment, the old creature rose up, almost taking pleasure in the misfortune of others. The “BC” tongue got ready for a good ole’ ‘that’s what you get’ lashing. Of course, I would have only said it to my husband, but sin committed in private is still sin. Then the redeemed tongue came alive: ‘Father, forgive me for grieving you with my arrogance, and for not being quicker to pray for them, and to ask you to bless them. I pray that these trials will draw them closer to you.’ God bless you today.